Triple Your Delegation Skills with These Powerful Techniques

Soundarya Mahalakshmi

Last Updated: June 23, 2024
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Sometimes, the most valuable thing you can do as a manager is to delegate work. Not only does delegating work give you more time to focus on high-impact tasks, it also gives your team members a chance to get involved in interesting projects.  But knowing what—and how—to delegate can be daunting for new managers. Delegating is a leadership skill you can develop over time. When the time comes to delegate work to a team member, the process isn’t always the issue. It’s the mindset of the project owner, manager, or CEO. They want to do things their way, have trouble letting go of tasks, and over complicate simple things. In the end, fewer tasks get done, team members struggle with a huge workload, and they become burned out.

If you’re too busy, you simply hand out tasks to colleagues – but handing over responsibility isn’t always easy. Delegation is something many managers struggle with, but it’s also a key leadership skill and important for your own self-preservation. If delegation has been an issue for you in the past, here are six ways to make it that bit easier. This blog explores Hyatt’s delegation framework, what are the things that should be viable to delegate, and how is that one can implement delegation strategies to develop a successful team. 

When To Delegate

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The “Do” level in Michael Hyatt’s delegation framework represents the foundational stage where tasks are handled entirely by the leader themselves. In this stage, responsibilities and actions are solely undertaken by you without any delegation to others. These tasks typically require your specific expertise, skills, or personal attention.

At this level, you are fully responsible for the execution and completion of tasks, utilising your unique abilities and knowledge. This could involve critical decision-making, tasks that align closely with your core strengths, or duties that demand your direct involvement due to their nature or importance. While the “Do” level signifies a leader’s direct engagement in tasks, it’s essential to assess whether certain responsibilities could be delegated to free up your time for higher-priority tasks that require your expertise. As you progress through the levels of delegation, the goal is to gradually transition from being the sole executor of tasks to empowering others within your team to handle them effectively. The level of “Delegate with specific instructions” is a step beyond personally handling tasks. At this stage, you entrust a task to someone else but provide detailed and clear instructions on how to accomplish it. Here, you maintain control over the task’s parameters, defining the desired outcome, timeline, and any specific guidelines necessary for completion. The person to whom you delegate the task follows your instructions closely, ensuring that the task aligns with your expectations.

By providing specific instructions, you’re empowering your team members to take on tasks while ensuring that they understand the desired outcome and the boundaries within which they can operate. This level sets the groundwork for transitioning towards higher levels of delegation where individuals gain more autonomy and responsibility. The stage of “Delegate with broad guidelines” represents a more evolved form of delegation. At this level, you empower a team member by providing overarching objectives and general parameters for completing a task or project.

Unlike the previous stage of providing specific instructions, here, you offer more flexibility and autonomy to the individual handling the task. Instead of delineating every step, you outline broader guidelines, goals, and the expected outcomes while granting more freedom for creativity and decision-making in the process. This level of delegation is effective when you trust the expertise and judgement of your team member but still want to ensure alignment with the overarching objectives.

Delegate with complete authority and responsibility: At this level, you empower the individual with not only the task but also full authority to make decisions and take responsibility for the entire process. You provide the end goal and trust the delegate to handle every aspect, including decision-making, strategy adjustments, and problem-solving. This level of delegation requires a high level of trust, competence, and confidence in the person to whom you assign the task.

Develop others to delegate: The ultimate stage in delegation is not just about assigning tasks but also about nurturing and mentoring others to become proficient in delegating themselves. At this level, you focus on developing the delegation skills of your team members. You empower them to effectively assign tasks, provide guidance, and foster a culture of delegation within the team or organisation. This involves coaching, providing resources, and creating an environment that encourages delegation and autonomy.

What To Delegate

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Stop Doing: To effectively delegate tasks, assess your strengths and weaknesses, identify time-consuming activities that don’t leverage your expertise, and delegate tasks outside your primary role. Look for tasks that others can handle competently without your specific skill set or knowledge. Identify repetitive or routine tasks with established processes that others can follow. Avoid tasks that hinder growth by focusing on strategic or high-value activities essential for personal or organisational growth. Evaluate the impact vs. effort of tasks based on their impact on your goals and the effort required. Focus on tasks that align with your long-term objectives or directly contribute to your goals. This will help you prioritise tasks and ensure you focus on the most important tasks.

Stop Doing for now: Assessing tasks based on their impact on your goals and urgency helps prioritise tasks that align with your objectives. Time Analysis helps you evaluate how much time you spend on each task, and consider whether certain tasks consume disproportionate amounts of time. Aligning your skills and passions with the tasks at hand can help you delegate tasks that don’t align with your strengths. Delegate exploration can help you find tasks that others in your team or organisation can handle more effectively. If possible, temporarily pause tasks that aren’t crucial to provide clarity on their importance. Finally, dedicating time to self-care and rejuvenation can help you gain a clearer perspective during this evaluation phase.

Take Back: To reclaim tasks, consider their importance in your role, expertise, or goals. Assess if these tasks align with your unique skills and expertise, and if they significantly contribute to your objectives. Assess the value these tasks bring to your work and the organisation, and consider whether they require your personal touch for clarity or control. If necessary, reconsider resuming tasks involving critical decision-making or direct input. Communicate openly with your team or those involved about your rationale and how these tasks fit into your role and broader organisational goals. Ensure that other delegated tasks are effectively managed while taking back tasks to maintain efficiency within your team or workflow.

Delegate: To effectively delegate a task, it is crucial to identify the task, select the right person, provide clear instructions, encourage open communication, grant authority and trust, offer necessary support and resources, schedule regular check-ins, and acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the individual. Ensure the task is well-defined, with clear objectives and expectations. Choose someone with the necessary skills and capabilities to handle the task effectively. Communicate the task’s requirements, desired outcomes, deadlines, and specific guidelines. Encourage questions and feedback, and grant authority and trust to the individual to make decisions within the task’s scope. Offer necessary support and resources, and schedule regular check-ins to track progress and offer guidance. Recognising and appreciating the efforts of the individual will motivate and reinforce a positive delegation experience.

How To Delegate

Identify the right person to delegate: Delegating tasks involves assessing the individual’s skills, knowledge, and experience, their interest and motivation, their current workload, and learning and development opportunities. It is crucial to find someone who is interested in the task, as they are more likely to invest more effort and creativity. Balancing workload and availability is also essential. Trust and reliability are crucial, as they should handle tasks responsibly and reliably. Aligning tasks with team dynamics can strengthen collaboration and leverage team strengths. Lastly, tasks can help individuals develop leadership skills or take on more significant responsibilities in the future.

Be clear on the outcome: To ensure success in a task, define its specificity using measurable metrics like deadlines or quality standards. Outline clear objectives and expectations, including quality, quantity, and other relevant criteria. Provide context and importance by explaining the task’s importance and its contribution to the team’s goals. Encourage clarification and be available for further details. Establish a feedback loop for periodic check-ins to ensure progress and correct if needed. Confirm understanding by asking the person to summarise their understanding to avoid misunderstandings and ensure alignment.

Set a firm deadline: To set a realistic deadline for a task, consider the complexity and scope of the task, the individual’s workload, and potential obstacles. Provide a specific date and time, avoiding vague terms like “soon” or “ASAP.” Communicate the deadline clearly, explaining how the task fits into the project’s timeline. Consider adding a buffer time if possible to accommodate unforeseen circumstances. Discuss the deadline with the responsible party, ensuring it aligns with their availability and commitments. Emphasise the importance of meeting the deadline and its impact on the project’s goals without creating undue pressure. Offer support and guidance throughout the task, schedule periodic check-ins, and clarify extensions if necessary.

Communication: The communication plan should include preferred channels, frequency, expectations for updates, response time, emergency communication, feedback mechanisms, flexibility, and confirmation of understanding. It should be agreed upon how to communicate, including email, chat, meetings, and determining the best method for the task. The plan should also outline the expected information in each communication, such as progress, challenges, or support needed. A reasonable response time should be established for queries or updates. The plan should also be flexible to accommodate changes in communication needs.

Allocate Resources: To complete a task, identify necessary resources such as human resources, financial resources, equipment, tools, or information. Assess availability and determine constraints. Allocate the right individuals based on skills, expertise, and availability. Provide necessary tools and equipment for efficient execution. Allocate a budget for necessary expenses. Share relevant information and knowledge. Offer support and training if needed. Regularly review resource allocation to ensure efficiency. Balance resource allocation with other ongoing tasks and priorities. Consider prioritising resources across different projects or responsibilities to ensure optimal distribution. This process ensures efficient use of resources and ensures effective task completion.

Addressing Hurdles: To overcome challenges, anticipate potential obstacles such as resource constraints, unclear instructions, skill gaps, or unforeseen circumstances. Openly discuss these issues and establish trust among team members. Offer support and guidance when needed, adopt a problem-solving mindset, and adjust deadlines or resources if necessary. Address the root causes of the issues to prevent future challenges. Be flexible in adjusting strategies if needed. Encourage a culture of learning from challenges, using them as opportunities for growth and improvement. Document solutions for future reference and prevention of similar issues. This approach ensures a successful and productive teamwork environment.

Boosting Career Chances With Mentoria

Delegation is an essential skill for any leader. It allows you to distribute work more effectively, develop your team members, and focus on your own priorities. Mentoria can help you assess your current delegation habits and identify areas where you can improve. This can be done through a combination of self-assessment tools, feedback from others, and one-on-one coaching. We provide access to a variety of resources and support that can help you improve your delegation skills. This includes online courses, articles, and webinars, as well as a network of mentors and coaches who can provide personalised guidance.

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